Staycation vs Vacation: how does the Cornish coast fare against the Danish?

When the UK summer is this glorious, it can be difficult to work out whether an overseas vacation is worthwhile. Here, Amy Horsfield defends her childhood summer destination of Cornwall’s Polruan, while Axel Fithen suggests a similar spot abroad.


I always know when we’re getting close: the long roads morph into narrow pathways where we all hold our breath as we squeeze round the tiny bends, hoping we don’t scratch the car on the stone walls.

I’m referring to my annual holidays in the small Cornish fishing town Polruan.

My family and I have spent long weekends here for years but I’m used to getting blank stares whenever I mention it.

This, of course, is the county’s best kept secret.

With few tourists venturing into the small town, you get a true glimpse of Cornish life. This is never more apparent than at the local cafe Crumpets or The Russell Inn, where you’ll be joined by locals discussing the latest gossip with the staff.

I recommend a visit to The Luger Inn. Often busier than its counterpart, it’s best to book in advance and try and secure a window seat where you can gaze out at the bay.

If you’re the outdoorsy type, I recommend staying at Polruan Holidays camping and caravanning. It was on this site that I fell in love with camping and the joys of casting aside all electronics for a true holiday detox.

Polruan also has a number of beautiful holiday cottages with stunning sea views.

Visit Lantic Bay on a hot summers day and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d strayed into the Caribbean.

Another favourite of mine is Lantivet Bay, which you’ll find hidden away beneath the cliffs and rarely spot another sunbather.

Round off your trip with a visit to Fowey. A 10 minute boat trip from Polruan takes you to the former hometown of literary sensation Daphne du Maurier, which is bustling with independent shops and cafes guaranteeing you’ll leave with armfuls of souvenirs.

So next time you’re planning a summer holiday in the West Country, why not visit this hidden gem?



Temperature – High 18.5° / Low 12.7°

Rainfall – 73mm

Hours of sun – 193.5

GETTING THERE: Flybe run three flights from Gatwick to Newquay daily (1h10); driving along the A38 takes approx. 5h20.

FACTS: Falmouth has the third deepest natural harbour in the world.

Newquay has a population of around 22,000, which swells to well over 100,000 in the summer months.

Penzance’s Dolphin Inn was the first place in Britain where tobacco was smoked. Obviously, you can’t enjoy a good blaze up in there anymore.

Greggs had to rename their Cornish Pasties, as EU regulations revealed they weren’t faithful to Cornwall’s recipes from the 1870s. This may change  soon.

Some places in Cornwall have awesome names, including Green Bottom, Skinners Bottom and Brown Willy.

The name Cornwall originates from a combination of the words Cornovii and Waelas, which mean hill-dwellers and strangers.



I’ll start of by saying this: summer is important.

We Brits spend far too much time in chilly darkness over the course of a year. Yes, there are those odd hardy types, people who strut around in shorts mid-January and seem to revel in our national misery, but who are they really kidding? We know the score: when summer comes, it’s a huge relief, and we’ve earned it too.

But where should we go for those welcome summer breaks? This year we’ve been lucky. Our heat wave has lasted more than two days. It’s made all those planned holidays to southern Europe seem a bit pointless. After all, why spend a fortune in sunny Spain when you can enjoy the weather here? Sure, Europe’s summer party spots are always fun, but if you want peaceful time off, they won’t cut it.

Sometimes, a quiet holiday abroad is exactly what’s needed. So this year, to avoid the tourist traps and intensity of southern Europe, why not try Scandinavia? Denmark is particularly pleasant in summer. The North Zealand coastline, an hour’s drive from Copenhagen, is a must. It deserves its status as the Danish Riviera and has understated celebrity appeal too.

Don’t be surprised if you glimpse Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen or other Danish stars from shows like The Killing – I did. Its relaxed atmosphere allows both holidaymakers and the famous to fully enjoy their visit hassle-free.

Take a trip to Kronborg castle in Helsingør, setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or visit Louisiana’s world-renowned modern art collection.

Admire the old-fashioned fishing boats at the harbour in Gilleleje and experience the radiant sunset at Hornbæk. See the famous Nakkehoved lighthouse and look across the sea to nearby Sweden. Whether you want sandy beaches, rejuvenating swimming, a dip in breath-taking lakes or to explore the brilliant coastal paths, which meander through enchanting woodland, Denmark’s North Zealand offers so much and will help you unwind in no time at all. Enjoy your trip!

Scenic summer view of Nyhavn pier with color buildings, ships, yachts and other boats in the Old Town of Copenhagen, Denmark
Scenic summer view of Nyhavn pier with color buildings, ships, yachts and other boats in the Old Town of Copenhagen, Denmark


Temperature – High 22° / Low 14°

Rainfall – 60mm

Hours of sun – 217

GETTING THERE: easyJet and Norwegian both operate flights from Gatwick to Copenhagen, costing around £60-70 (1h50).

FACTS: In Denmark, it rains every second day. On average, a year has 171 days with a precipitation of more than 0.1mm).

As a city, Copenhagen is incredibly clean. You can even safely swim in its harbour. Even the tap water is filtered for purity.

Copenhagen is a haven for nude sunbathing, with multiple beaches offering facilities for any ardent nudist.

The city’s Tivoli Garden, the second oldest amusement park in the world, inspired Walt Disney to create his theme parks.

Denmark has been declared the happiest place on Earth twice in a row, according to The UN World Happiness Report.

Copenhagen has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in Scandinavia.


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